On Monday my right side hurt.
My rib cage, specifically, ached.
 No big deal.
 I lug that 24 pound baby around pretty much every minute we are together. Not only is there lugging going on but I am also emptying the dishwasher, cooking, laundry, making beds, vacuuming, etc. during previously mentioned lugging.
On Tuesday, I felt fine.
 Must have slept wrong.
On Wednesday, my side ached again and now a tiny spot of what appeared to be poison ivy showed up on the right side of my stomach. It itched. Then by the end of the day, a tiny spot on my back showed up. 
Both spots would be places I might have scratched after touching poison ivy which we have been known to have in our giant backyard.
Odd, but believable.
 I have never been one to experience terrible reactions from poison ivy but my mother glances toward the leafy vine and instantly collapses into a heap of red and itchy - so I figured maybe now is my long-overdue, inherited poison ivy time?
Thursday I was an itchy mess Calamining myself numerous times. Friday I continued treating this mysterious poison ivy. Poison oak?
So strange.
Get ready, it's about to get WebMD all up in here.
I was prepared to deal with this hideousness as it ran its course accept that the pain in my side was not subsiding. It was getting worse. It was like an ache that no matter how I rearranged myself, would not disperse.
Sunday morning I couldn't take it anymore. My side seared with pain. I went to urgent care where a doctor said "Well, it probably isn't something like shingles because that would be really rare for someone your age, but let me take a ... OH DEAR GOD IT'S SHINGLES!"
I was given an antiviral to take five times a day and pain meds. (Just for fun fact: The antiviral is safe for nursing.) I figured the pain meds were unnecessary as I would just try to control this with ibuprofen. That evening I could not reach for the pain meds fast enough. The pain was so intense and there was no relief.
Slowly, I have been feeling better and it appears as though its course is coming to an end but little did I know the shingles were just the kick off to our illness-series, brought to you by Children's Motrin.
One week after my itchy self left the urgent care the boys and I returned. 
Eventually we would learn that Eli's simple cold had turned into RSV/pneumonia/ear infection/stomach bug, etc. Jackson was the best assistant as I was back to lugging a sick baby and all the items with which they arrive: lovey, bottle, Cheerios, burp cloth, diaper, etc.
 Jackson carried my purse as we went from waiting room to exam room to x-ray and so forth. He did explain to me that he was going to carry it with the flower embellishment hidden toward his stomach so that no one would mistake him for a girl. 
Only a day later Jackson would be up next, catching the dreaded stomach bug that has been circulating. But like a champ the five-year-old made it to the bathroom every time. We all high-fived him on that feat. Plus, getting to snack on saltines, a little Coke and a few Christmas movies was a pretty good bargain.
And now as Eric and I are noticing our own scratchy throats, all I can keep in my heart is joy.
In light of recent events, it is more clear than ever.
How lucky am I to be able to care for my children? To clean up this mess? To change sheets and towels before administering more breathing treatments?
How happy am I to be able to cool foreheads and walk the floor with our unhappy boy?
We are sleepless. Sleepless because our children need care.
How happy are we to be sleepless?
So very, very.


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Eli Fletcher Copley